Make Your 2018 Resolution Work by Tracking Positive Habits

The new year means time for reflection on last year and setting plans for the months ahead. New Year’s Resolutions can be difficult to maintain throughout the year without careful planning and thoughtful tracking. Believe it or not, tracking positive habits can help you stay focused on resolutions that matter to you, so you can end the year feeling proud of your accomplished goals.

Resolutions have a much bigger impact if you look at them as goals you’re working toward instead of unattainable wishes. Take a few minutes to think about your goals for this year. Ask yourself…

  • What do I want to accomplish this year?
  • What could have been better about last year?
  • Where do I see myself in the next few months?
  • What’s most important to me this year?

The best resolutions are concrete. Instead of saying “I want to learn Chinese” or “I want to be healthy” or  “I want to spend more time with family” think of metrics that you can actually keep track of during the year. These are best if you can put a number to them. Think about it this way. To track a resolution of…

  • “Be Healthy”, measure…
    • 5 servings of vegetables every day
    • 5 workouts each week
    • 4 walks each week
  • “Learn a new skill”, measure…
    • 5 hours a week spent on the skill
    • 4 workshops attended on the skill in the year
  • “Save more money”, measure…
    • 20% of each paycheck into savings
    • 50% of tax return into savings
    • Cook dinner at home 5 nights per week
  • “Spend more quality time with family”, measure…
    • 2 family events a month
    • 1 hosted family event each month

Think about your resolutions in terms of measurable steps to reach the larger goal. This not only makes it feel more real, but it also gives you a plan. Instead of trying to remember each of these goals and the steps to get there, try writing it down! Whether you make a daily tracker for some of your bigger goals or add a reminder to your calendar each month for more ongoing goals, tracking progress can really help.

Check out my tracker for last year, which was focused on physical health:

I printed this weekly calendar out and hung it in my bathroom to track each habit. I tallied up each of the activities each day (how many home-cooked meals I ate, how many workouts I completed, how many veggies I ate, sodas I drank, and sweets I consumed). This method makes your progress really clear and helps you stay focused on your goals.

Think over the habits you’d like to build in this New Year. Consider building a similar template to help you track the little steps on your way to the big goals, and good luck!

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Sarah is a dog lover and advocate for conversation & laughing at your own jokes. Since finishing her college career in communications, she began working (and living) in Atlanta. After living in a few different apartments over the last few years, she's ready to share experiences. Stay tuned for adventures, tips and advice!

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